When we aren’t confident about ourselves, we definitely can’t win anything in our life. Are you scorned, oppressed, and belittled? Want a little bit of confidence boost? Then the poem ‘Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou is for you.
People may picture you however they want. They may lie about you, spread rumors, and pull you down to gutters but you should never give in to such slanders. Even if they make you look dirty, like a dust which never settles down, you ought to rise.
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
People, who talk ill about you, do so because they are blinded by petty emotions like jealousy and insecurity. They may not like you when you differ from the crowd and when you are being yourself while they cannot. You may find your happiness in small things and this might irritate them. So, they might try to bring down your confidence, even then you must rise.
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
And, when you rise, rise like the sun or the moon, which rises everyday without fail with its fullest radiance. Like the tides which hit the shore with certainty and hope which springs higher in the darkest times, you too should rise. You know why you should rise? Simply because everyone is watching. They want to see you broken, shoulders fallen, heads down, kneeling and desperately crying at misfortunes. So, rise beyond expectations.
They may label you haughty when you differ and might be offended when you laugh happily. Even though they slander you, belittle, treat you indifferently and hatefully, you must rise like air which sees no confines.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
They will be jealous and afraid of you rising, and so they will try to pull you down. But you must rise. People oppress others based on economic conditions, race, ancestry, and color. Even then you must rise.
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
The poetess was strongly fighting against the oppression of black people and women. People of her race were ill treated and subjugated. She, the black ocean, is resolute to send tides of opposition against such oppressions. Though she had suffered and lived painfully, she will march into daybreak, proud of her identity that her ancestors had given her, and will rise and rise and rise.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Hence, never let yourself be held back by restraints and limitations. You are you and be confident about yourself. If you do so, you shall also rise.